The first official step after filing for bankruptcy is a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. The meeting is held within 40 days of the bankruptcy filing and includes the debtor, a court-appointed trustee and creditors (although creditors typically do not attend). The statements made during this meeting are sworn to be true by the debtor and help the court determine the next steps in the bankruptcy case. The trustee has a list of 10 required questions to ask the debtor, according to the “Handbook for Chapter 7 Trustees,” but can ask for other information as well.
Required Questions 1-4
The trustee will begin by asking questions to verify the debtor and documents provided at the meeting. As the debtor, you will be asked to state name and current address and to provide a picture ID and social security card. You will be asked if you read and sign the petition, schedules, statements and related documents, and asked if you are familiar with the information in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents.
Required Questions 5-8
The next three required questions pertain to assets and debts. You will be asked if all of your assets are identified on the schedules and if you have listed all your creditors on the schedules. The trustee will then ask if you've filed bankruptcy in the past and for the name and address of your current employer. The trustee will then ask if the copy of the tax return in the bankruptcy petition is the most recent tax return filed and if it is accurate.
Required Questions 9-10
The last two questions are more personal. “Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom?” If the answer is yes, information about the person owed must be submitted for the court in writing but should not be stated on the record of the meeting. Finally, the trustee will ask if you have read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the trustee.
A trustee can also ask other questions at a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. The trustee can ask about real estate and personal property holdings. Other questions may include those about money owed to you by someone else, proceeds from insurance or an inheritance if a family member dies and any bank accounts are open and active. A trustee may also ask about business interests that you may have.